About – “The New Riff Backsetter® series offers profound evidence for the impact of the sour mash process on whiskey flavor. We are firmly committed to the production of sour mash whiskeys, according to Kentucky tradition; yet we are also committed to creating a new riff. For this release, we have used backset from peated malted barley in the mashing of our standard Bourbon and Rye recipe. The resultant smoky flavor is hauntingly unique, with layers of peat enveloping creamy-spicy Bourbon and Rye, respectively.” Backsetter is an exclusive release for the New Riff Whiskey Club. It is aged for 4 years, bottled at 100 proof, and costs $50.
Nose – The peat plays incredibly well with the rye. It comes through as a really nice balance of smoke and spice. There is some blueberry sweetness hiding behind all of that as well. Very nice nose.
Palate – Right away you get a fresh baked rye bread that is layered with lemon and blueberry. There is a subtle smokiness running behind all of that leading into a long finish that is all smoke and rye spice.
Score – B+
Verdict – This is just damn good. The Backsetter Bourbon was enjoyable, but the play between the peat smoke and rye spice just kicks this up to another level. The sweet lemon and blueberry adds a nice brightness that balances out the dark smoky essence you get from the peat. This has to be on my shortlist of contenders for rye of the year.